May 2, 2018 / 11:21 AM / 4 months ago

Nigeria's central bank to remove bank executives if accounts too late

LAGOS, May 2 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s central bank plans to introduce regulations that will enable it to remove bank executives if they fail to publish audited annual accounts during the following 12 months, it said.

Commercial bank are meant to publish accounts within four months of the end of their financial year. The regulator said in a report that banks had adopted a common year-end of December, which would help facilitate its supervision.

Nigerian lenders are facing increased supervision after a plunge in the price of crude in mid-2014 turned a once lucrative oil and gas loan book sour. The central bank has also tightened loan requirements and increased the charge on non-performing loans, which could erode capital and dampen profits.

The central bank said it would bar bank executives from industry meetings and suspend the lender from the foreign exchange market if its annual accounts were not published during the 12 months after its financial year-end.

Nigeria’s central bank has powers to remove bank executives and used them during the 2008/2009 global financial crisis when it sacked nine CEOs at banks that were undercapitalised.

Mid-tier lender Diamond Bank has said the central bank is reviewing its accounts and is unlikely to finish in time for them to be released by April 30.

Other lenders such as Union Bank, Unity Bank and Skye Bank are yet to publish their accounts. Union Bank said it was anticipating regulatory approval in order to publish earnings this week.

Skye Bank is yet to publish its 2016 results after the regulator shored up the mid-tier bank with a 100 billion naira ($327 million) capital injection and sacked its top management for failing to meet minimum capital requirements. The central bank then appointed a new management team.

Skye’s new management team reported a 37.65 billion naira loss for 2015, its last published accounts.

$1 = 305.7000 naira Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Mark Potter

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